Excellent news tonight from the Florida Panhandle. Gainesville City Commissioner Craig Lowe is the apparent winner of that city's mayoral election, beating conservative businessman by Don Marsh by only 35 votes. Lowe becomes Gainesville's first openly gay mayor—and the first in conservative northern Florida—if he survives the automatic recount, reports the Gainesville Sun.
Lowe was the target of an ugly anti-gay smear campaign which included a church sign that said "No Homo Mayor."
Lowe will become one of fewer than 30 openly LGBT mayors in the U.S., adds the Victory Fund. "Gainesville joins municipalities as diverse as Houston, Texas, with 2.2 million residents, and Dillon, Colorado, population 800–both of which have elected openly LGBT mayors in the past year."
Almost one year ago this week, Gainesville voters rejected Amendment 1, an attempt to eliminate anti-discrimination protections for LGBT residents.